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Dave Walsh: Like amateurs, pro bowlers form teams for new event

Jan. 20, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

There's the NFL, NBA, NHL (finally), Major League Baseball and Word Team Tennis. Team competition is now coming to bowling. Say hello to the PBA League.

The historic venture starts this week at Thunderbowl Lanes in suburban Detroit. The extended team competition is a first for the PBA Tour. The eight-team PBA League features celebrity owners and all-star rosters of PBA Tour players. There will be four days of qualifying followed by five telecasts on ESPN. The first will be a two-hour show on Jan. 27 at noon.

The head of each team is a Franchise Player (based on the 2011-12 PBA Tour points list). The franchise players are Sean Rash, Jason Belmonte, Mike Fagan, Pete Weber, Osku Palermaa, Norm Duke, Bill O'Neill and Chris Barnes.

After the draft, the PBA revealed celebrity team owners. They are NBA's Chris Paul, L.A. X; NFL's Jerome Bettis, Motown Muscle; NFL's Terrell Owens, Dallas Strikers; actor/comedian Kevin Hart, Philadelphia Hitmen; tennis legend Billie Jean King, New York City WTT KingPins; NFL's LaMarr Woodley, Pittsburgh Jack Rabbits; comedian and internet innovator Chris Hardwick, Silver Lake (Calif.) Atom Splitters; and actor/model Jesse Williams, Brooklyn Styles.

Four PBA League qualifying rounds will start Tuesday and continue for four days. In addition, the tour's Winter Swing will feature open-field tournament qualifying for the Carmen Salvino Classic, Mark Roth Classic, Don Carter Classic and Earl Anthony Players Championship. Qualifying totals will determine who makes the four shows.

During the individual qualifying rounds, PBA League players will compete for their teams. Scores will be added together to decide the team's qualifying positions for the Baker format stepladder finals. The top three teams after each team round advance to the stepladder finals; the other five teams will bowl a one-ball eliminator "Clash" round to determine the fourth team that will advance to the stepladder final. All PBA League finals on ESPN will be one-game Baker style matches.

Total team points after five rounds will determine the top four teams that will advance to the PBA League Elias Cup finals which will be held March 31 in Indianapolis along with the PBA Tournament of Champions finals.

Following are the team rosters.

Dallas Strikers: Norm Duke, Rhino Page, Amleto Monacelli, Bryon Smith and Mike Machuga. Supplemental pick, Mike Wolfe.

Philadelphia Hitmen: Bill O'Neill, Mika Koivuniemi, Chris Loschetter, Mike DeVaney and Dick Allen. Supplemental pick, Dino Castillo.

Motown Muscle: Mike Fagan, Tom Smallwood, Mike Scroggins, Ronnie Russell and Jesse Buss. Supplemental pick, Brad Angelo.

Pittsburgh Jack Rabbits: Osku Palermaa, Martin Larsen, Dan MacLelland, Patrick Allen and Thomas Larsen. Supplemental pick, Anthony LaCaze.

L.A. X: Jason Belmonte, Wes Malott, Andres Gomez, Parker Bohn III and Dave Wodka. Supplemental pick, Ildemaro Ruiz.

Silver Lake Atom Splitters: Chris Barnes, Dom Barrett, Josh Blanchard, Stuart Williams and Nathan Bohr. Supplemental pick, Jon VanHees.

New York City WTT KingPins: Pete Weber, Tommy Jones, Scott Norton, Jack Jurek and John Szczerbinski. Supplemental pick, Kelly Kulick.

Brooklyn Styles: Sean Rash, Ryan Ciminelli, Ryan Shafer, Walter Ray Williams Jr. and Jason Sterner. Supplemental pick, Tom Hess.

BOHN WINS MAJOR: Parker Bohn III defeated top seed Jason Belmonte, 254-227, in the title match in the PBA World Championship last Sunday. It's the first of pro bowling's four majors.

Bohn, a left-hander, almost didn't make the TV show. He made the 24th and final position in match play by three pins and made the stepladder finals by nine pins. This is Bohn's second major and 33rd career title.

In the stepladder finals, Bohn ousted Dan MacLelland, 226-218; Rhino Page, 200-170; and Sean Rash, 278-231. Bohn became only the third player ever to win a major championship after qualifying 24th for match play (Mike Aulby and Pete Weber are the other two). At age 49 years, 122 days, he also became the second-oldest player ever to win the PBA World Championship (Tom Baker was 49 years, 192 days when he won in 2004).

JAPAN CUP: The finals in the Round1 Japan Cup will air from Tokyo Plaza at 3 p.m. Sunday on ESPN. Compeition began with 20 PBA members competing against 123 Japan and Korean PBA members. U.S. tour players have won this event 21 straight times.

HUNTINGTON USBC CHAMPIONSHIP: Wednesday is the deadline to enter the Huntington USBC Championships. Tournament dates are Jan. 26-27 and Feb. 2-3. Colonial Lanes is host for singles and doubles. Strike Zone gets the team event. Shifts begin at 1 p.m. Entry fee $60 plus $3 for all-events. Entry forms available at both centers.

David Walsh is a reporter for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact him at 304-526-2759 or dwalsh@herald-dispatch.com.

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